10/03/2012 4:18PM

Keeneland notes: No shortage of Shadwell Mile challengers for Wise Dan

Michael Burns
Wise Dan will face 11 rivals in Saturday's Grade 1, $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – So much for Wise Dan scaring off the opposition.

Confirmed only Tuesday as a starter by trainer Charlie Lopresti, Wise Dan will be favored Saturday when facing 11 other older horses in the Grade 1, $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile, the richest race of the 17-day Keeneland fall meet. Keeneland racing officials were fearful the presence of the ultra-fleet Wise Dan would limit the size of the field, but clearly that was not the case when entries were drawn Wednesday.

“I didn’t really like it when I heard Wise Dan was going to be in there,” said Dale Romans, who will send out one of the Shadwell front-runners in Silver Max. “But at some point you’ve got to see what you’ve got.”

Wise Dan was assigned post 5 in the Shadwell. Silver Max, a 3-year-old facing elders for the first time, got post 10, while another major contender, Dominus, was assigned post 11.

Wise Dan will be ridden by Jose Lezcano because his regular jockey, John Velazquez, was otherwise committed at Belmont Park.

Robby Albarado, back riding regularly in Kentucky for the first time since early May, has the mount on Silver Max, who will be turning back from 1 1/4 miles in the Shadwell.

“I think he can pretty much run all out for a flat mile,” said Romans.

The Shadwell, designed as a major prep for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile on Nov. 3 at Santa Anita, is one of seven Win and You’re In events being run on the opening three-day FallStars Weekend at Keeneland. It is carded as the ninth (post time, 5:21 p.m. Eastern) of 10 races on a blockbuster Saturday program that starts at 1:05.

In the other Saturday stakes:

◗ Grade 1, $400,000 Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (race 8): Just like its filly counterpart, the Alcibiades on Friday, this 1 1/16-mile Polytrack race for 2-year-old colts and geldings drew an overflow field, with as many as 14 starting, not to mention two also-eligibles.

Balance the Books, winner of the With Anticipation at Saratoga for Chad Brown, could be a lukewarm favorite after drawing post 11. Other logical contenders in a wide-open affair include Pataky Kid (post 6), winner of the Arlington-Washington Futurity, and Craving Carats (post 7).

◗ Grade 1, $350,000 First Lady (race  7): Daisy Devine, a front-running winner of the Jenny Wiley here in the spring, will try to pull off a notable sweep when facing just five other fillies and mares in a speed-laden 15th running of the First Lady at a mile on turf.

Besides Daisy Devine, the lineup also includes Tapitsfly and Summer Soiree, both blessed with plenty of speed. A too-fast scenario might well things up for the obvious closer in the race, Hungry Island, who ships in from New York for Shug McGaughey.

◗ Grade 2, $200,000 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (race 6): All eyes will be on Groupie Doll as she attempts to further entrench herself as the one to beat in the BC Filly and Mare Sprint. Rajiv Maragh retains the mount on Groupie Doll, who was assigned post 6 in a field of nine fillies and mares in this six-furlong Polytrack race.

The second choice probably will be Emma’s Encore, a rare shipper for New York training legend Allen Jerkens. Emma’s Encore won the Grade 1 Prioress and Grade 3 Victory Ride in recent starts.

Groupie Doll won the Grade 1 Vinery Madison here in the spring and is bidding to become the second horse, after 2009 filly-mare sprint champion Informed Decision, to sweep the Madison and TCA.

◗ Grade 3, $150,000 Woodford Stakes (race 5): Chamberlain Bridge has won 13 stakes while specializing in turf sprints, including this race in 2008. He was assigned post 3 in this 5 1/2-furlong turf race in which Bridgetown and Great Mills also rate excellent chances. Only seven were entered.

◗ The usual game of musical chairs among jockey agents has taken place on the doorstep of the Keeneland and Churchill Downs meets.

Steve Bass, the longtime agent for Julien Leparoux, now also is working for Leandro Goncalves. Lenny Pike is working for Shaun Bridgmohan and Joe Rocco Jr., while Dennis Cooper has picked up Robby Albarado while still working for Jesus Castanon. Also, Rosie Napravnik, in from New York, has reunited with Louisiana agent Derek Ducoing in anticipation of the Fair Grounds meet that begins late next month.

◗ Shadwell Farm has announced that the winning owner of the Shadwell Turf Mile will be presented with a newly designed bronze trophy that depicts a falcon atop a traditional block perch. The new perpetual trophy is meant to achieve “our goal of representing the Arabic spirit of sportsmanship,” according to Shadwell general manager Rick Nichols.